As Poolesville prepared for its first corner shot during the opening half of Monday’s Maryland 2A semifinal against Century, Julia Duncan was more occupied with studying than scoring. The Falcons senior methodically observed the strategy of her opponents so that come the next corner opportunity, she would be ready.
Sure enough, at the game’s six-minute mark, Duncan found herself wide open on the right side of the field, eyeing a 15-yard shot that found the back of the goal and, ultimately, gave the Falcons a 1-0 victory against the Knights. Poolesville’s win earns them a rematch in Saturday’s championship against Glenelg, which defeated Easton, 2-0, in Monday’s other semifinal at Franklin High in Reisterstown.
“I saw on the first corner that they were mostly covering the left side of the goal,” Duncan said about her first goal of the season. “So we set up our next corner based on that and I found myself wide open for the shot.”
Following Duncan’s goal, however, similar opportunities were hard to come by for the Falcons (14-1) as Century went on the attack. During a five-minute span in the second half, the Knights had four straight corner shots, but each time the Falcons responded with strong defense, with Duncan blocking the final scoring threat back across midfield.
“Hats off to our defense and our goalie because they had to put together some big stops in the second half,” Poolesville Coach Regina Grubb said. “The past few games we’ve kind of been playing on our heels in the second half, so hopefully we can change that going forward into the championship.”
There, the Falcons will face two-time defending champ Glenelg (16-1), a team that showed its offensive prowess during its semifinal win.
The first half saw the Gladiators dominate the ball, earning five corner opportunities while holding Easton to zero. But it wasn’t until the second half, when Glenelg Coach Ginger Kincaid said her girls adjusted to the frigid temperature, that the Gladiators capitalized.
One minute after halftime, Morgan Philie found Stephanie Asher in front of the goal for the game’s first score. In the game’s final minute, Philie and Asher connected again, as Asher controlled Philie’s pass among a fracas of defenders and fired the ball into the goal.
“Our passing was working well in the second half and corners are sort of our bread and butter, so we knew if we got enough opportunities, we would eventually score,” Philie said.
Saturday’s championship will be played at 1:30 p.m. at Washington College. There, Poolesville will look to contain Glenelg’s offensive firepower, which outshot the Falcons 20-2 during a 3-0 victory in last year’s final. None of that is lost on Poolesville, but that doesn’t mean the Falcons plan on playing with a chip on their shoulder come Saturday.
“We’re not going in with a mind-set of vengeance or anything like that,” Duncan said. “We know Glenelg is a good team, so our goal is to play our hearts out and work together like we did tonight so we can hopefully have a better outcome this year.”